Gen:  Fiction Featuring the close friendship between Jack and Daniel.
Rating: PG.
Category: Angst. Hurt/Comfort.  J/D Friendship.
Season/Spoilers: Season 2.  References to Stargate the Movie.
Synopsis: Jack is critically wounded.  Daniel is at his side.  Daniel's thoughts about Jack, as he waits.
Warnings: None
Length:   32 Kb  Originally completed 2001 for Gateways 4.  Posted to the net in 2004.


We've got to stop meeting like this, Jack.  Although it's usually the other way around.  I'm the one lying in that bed, stitched up, hooked up and wired for sound.  And you're the one sitting here in this chair.  Watching, waiting.


Janet's not saying much, but her 'detached and dedicated medical professional' mask is seated too firmly in place to fool me.  She doesn't have to say it.  I can see it in her eyes.

It's too soon to tell.  It can go either way.  You - you could go.  Either way.

Nothing to do but wait and see.

I'll wait.  Damned straight, I'll wait.  Wild horses couldn't tear me out of this seat.  Being here for you, even though you don't know - it's the least I can do, Jack.  Not simply because I'm your friend.  Or because you're mine.   Mostly because if it wasn't for you it would be me lying there where you are now. Or maybe not even still here at all.

I know if he was able to - what he did for me back there - why he's here, lying there - like that... he'd just shrug it off.  That's his way.  That's Jack.  Nothing.  It was nothing.  Nothing any self-respecting team leader wouldn't have done for one of his 'kids'.  Kids.  That's what he calls us.  I know he means it in an affectionate way, probably doesn't even think about it half the time when he says it, but it says a lot about the way he sees us.  Feels about us.  Takes care of us.

Protects us.

Protects me.

That's what you were doing, Jack, what got you here, fighting for your life and hanging on with every stubborn fibre of your contentious and uncompromising being.  Protecting me.  It's my fault you're here, Jack.  I shouldn't have frozen over the DHD. I don't know what was wrong with me, what happened, it's not like I've never been under fire before but I just - I couldn't move and there I was -  I was standing there like a dummy, a perfect target.  A lamb to the slaughter.  I would have just stood there and let myself get shot - killed probably.

Didn't happen.  "Cause all of sudden Jack was there, jumping up behind me, getting in the line of fire. Pulling me down to safety.

It wasn't until you'd gotten us both down and covered I realized you'd been shot.

Shot him.  They shot Jack.  It should have been me - would have - would have been.  But he saved me.  Saved...

I'm still not sure how Sam and Teal'c got us back.  What happened after I saw your still face, so white, and yet strangely calm, felt your blood soaking into me as it slicked my hands…it's just all a bit of a blur.  The only thing I can really remember, the only images  my mind will not release in favour of new ones.  Your face.  Your  blood.

Oh God, there was so much blood.

It doesn't matter.  Doesn't matter how we got back.  We did.  We did.   We're back, we're here.  Jack's still here.   Alive, you're still alive.  No blood now, just sterile whiteness, stark, antiseptic smells and the electronic sounds signifying your relentless tenacity.  Each beep, each breath, each second measured by an electronic sentinel.  

Still alive…still alive…

I've gotta stop thinking like this.  A person could make themselves nuts thinking like this.   I don't wanna go nuts.  Fine way to say thanks to Jack when he wakes up if he should see the idiot he went through all this for - acting like one.

You will wake up, Jack.  You will.  God knows after everything you've already been through you're not going like this.   Not now.  Not when you want so very much to live.

Oh Jack, there was a time when you would have welcomed this.  A time that's thankfully long passed. You just about took an entire planet and all the souls on it with you in your determination to put an end the spark of uniqueness we've come to know as Jack O'Neill.  I stood there and watched you push the button on over five thousand souls, your own men among them.  All of them consigned to death, having only seven minutes to live.  Everyone on Abydos was going to die but me.

Me you were sending back through the gate.  Back to Earth, back to life.  You were going to die, everyone who had helped us, befriended us was going to die, but not me.  Daniel was going to live. You were taking care of me - even back then.  Taking care.  Such good - good care…

I know neither one of us has really ever faced the terrible meaning of that moment.  Such utter, implacable, resolute determination, unmindful of the cost.  The darkest moment in an already too dark life and yet…  Something in you still reached out.  To me.

We're the only ones who know about that moment.  The only ones who shared it.  It changed both of us somehow, bound us together in a way no one else can really understand.  You had to be there.  Trite, but still true.

We both learned something that day, Jack.  Something we'll both never forget.  Copping out, checking out, that's not hard.  The easiest thing in the world.  Living - going on and dealing with what you are, what you've done, what you've seen - that' what's hard.  That's what takes every ounce of courage and determination you possess.  And ultimately, what shows you what you're really made of.

Something I've never told you, Jack, but I understand a lot better than you know. I've wanted to give up too. No really.  I know what you all think - I'm the 'takes a licking but keeps on ticking' kid.  Has been known to do it occasionally,  but 'never sez die', Daniel.

Yeah, that's me.  The original rubber band man.  Always bouncing back.

Want to know the truth, Jack?  I put up a good front, but that's not the way I always feel.  There have been times when I've wanted to just lie down and never get up again. I've come pretty close to... let's just say it's been close.  A couple of times.

Then Jack will say something like 'don't worry, it'll be fine'.   And somehow it always is.  Because Jack says so.

But that's Jack.  The sanest man I know.

When nothing else around me has made sense, somehow Jack - you have.  Sometimes you're the only thing that does.  You're always - there.  So real, so unique, so - so Jack.  You're the rock I always cling to in the raging storms of my life, the safe harbour I fight to reach with every ounce of strength I possess.  Even though at times we've drifted - you've never been far away.  And no matter what you think, you've never let me down.

Jack.  Safe.  Both four letter words.  Interchangeable in my dictionary.  You don't know how many times you've given me strength with a touch of your hand, quelled the rising terror of the moment just by being there.  'Daniel, with me.'  Three words which say to me, more than any others, you'll be there, taking care.  Watching out for me.  As long as I'm at your side, no matter what, I'm safe.  

Safe.  Jack.


You have to wake up, now, you hear me?  You've dragged me kicking and screaming through the most amazing year of my life. We've butted heads constantly, fought like cats and dogs but you've brought me safe through all of it.  You promised me we'd find her - find them - no way I'm letting you out of the deal now.  The job's not done, Jack, I can't do it without you.  Can't go out there without you kicking my ass, yelling at me, making my life hell. No one can give me grief like you.

That's Jack.  The most frustrating man I know.

You can be the most stubborn, unreasonable, condescending, maddening… There have been times, I swear, when I've wanted to scream.  I do actually get a little carried away at times I realise, trying to make a simple point.  Our 'differences of opinion' are becoming the stuff of legend at the SGC.  Jack might not always listen, but I've never doubted he hears me.  He hears.  And sometimes he knocks me right on my ass with just how much he has heard.  And knows.  

But that's Jack.  Far more than  he seems to be.  Way more than he gives himself credit for.  Oh, Jack, you're so down on yourself sometimes.  You have this strange idea you were a little short-changed in the brains department and frequently seem bent and determined to be the living embodiment of 'thick as a brick' just to prove the point, but the real truth is you doesn't miss a thing. All of us owe our lives to your instinct, your skill and your dedication to us.  Sam and I might be 'smart', but Jack keeps our over-rated heads on our shoulders and gets us all home again.  Jack knows plenty, and I for one am profoundly grateful for his version of 'smart' when the shit is hitting the fan and it's looking very much as if the rest of my life can be measured in seconds.

Seconds, ticking slowly by, marked by beep, after beep, after beep…

You're lying there, beside me, so pale, so still.  Jack, my bane, my protector my antagonist, my - my friend..

Okay, Daniel, calm down, let's not panic.  I won't be scared, I won't, it's going to be fine, you're always telling me it's going to be fine Jack, I need to hear you telling me it's going to be fine, you're going to be fine, I need to hear your voice, Jack.  You hear me, Colonel?  Don't piss me off. I mean it!  You low-down, contentious, stubborn, contrary bastard, you check out now when I catch up with you, you'll wish you were dead.  Don't think I won't find you either! No way you're having the last word!

No way.  Please, God - no...



"Haven't you got anything better to do?"

"Apparently not."

"That's pretty sad."

"Pathetic.  How are you feeling?"

"Been - been better, thanks.  You?"

"I'm doing just fine, now."

"You look like shit."

"You look great."  Never looked better, far as I'm concerned.  Jack's alive, squinting up at me, tightly clutching my hand as amusement dances in his eyes.  I don't know what you're seeing in my face right now, Jack, but I don't really care.  I'll deny everything later, say it was a dream, the drugs, whatever works but right now I don't mind you seeing, don't mind you knowing how glad I am - how wonderful it is to see you smile.

"You are so full of it," Jack snorts weakly.  Then he looks deeper, the amusement in his eyes softens, turns to concern.  "Scared you, huh?" he sighs so quietly I almost miss it.  "Close one, was it?"

"Uh - yeah."  I can't say any more.  Can't look at him either.  Especially as I know - if it wasn't for me…

"Hey," his voice gently reaches out to me as he squeezes my hand.  "Don't.  We both made it.  That's all that matters.  It'll be fine."

I can hardly believe what I'm hearing.  He's barely crawled away from death's door and here he is, trying to make me feel better.

But that's Jack.  The kindest man I know.

"Colonel O'Neill!"  Janet's relieved and happy voice sounds behind me.  "Good to have you back, sir,"

Jack flashes her a faint shadow of his usual insouciant grin as she moves to the side of the bed.  She puts a gentle but firm hand on my shoulder.  I'm about to get the boot.

"I'm sorry, Doctor Jackson, now that he's awake I'd like a little quality time alone with my favourite patient."

"Told ya Doc liked me best," Jack pulls a face at me.

"Only because you outrank her," I smile back at him as I reluctantly extricate my hand from Jack's surprisingly iron grip and allow Janet to move me aside.  I'm not quite ready to leave him, but this is Janet's turf and even Jack hasn't the guts to talk back to her.  She's short, but she's mean.  She's also put both of us back together again more times than all the king's men reassembled Humpty Dumpty, so usually, we try to be good.

"So Danny, as long as you're going, you wanna pick me up a pizza for later?"

Some of us try a little harder than others.

"Colonel O'Neill," Janet scolds with fond firmness.  She spares me a parting look.  "Get some rest, Daniel," she tells me kindly.  "We'll look after the colonel."

I know you will, Janet.  Just like I know, from the look on your face, he's going to be all right.  I can rest now.  But I'll be back.

"Yeah," Jack chimes in sleepily.  "Get some sleep.  You look like shit. And don't come back without the pizza."

His eyes are tired but smiling, saying so much more than his words.  He'll pout about the pizza, but he'll forgive me.  He'll bitch and moan and complain, call me names, and then bitch some more, every truculent, childish syllable music to my ears, but he'll forgive me. That's the way he is.  That's how I know how much he cares.

That's just Jack.  The best friend a man could have.



PhoenixE, 2001-9.
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